Philip Marlowe saves a drunken guy from being dumped in a ditch. He does it again another time. He does is yet again another time. And another. And another. Finally he gets into trouble for doing this: no good deed ever goes unpunished.
This book gives a very realistic gritty picture of US life in early fifties. It provides social commentary on the subject. It is considered by many critics to be the best Raymond Chandler novel, a classic of literature in general. It also happened to be unnecessary long and boring. As a mystery book it is really third-rate, so let us just call it classic drama with some mystery elements, just to be fair.
Philip Marlowe does not feel the same to the extent that I would like to ask the late author, "Who the heck is the guy impersonating him and what happened to the real one?" Gone are brilliant one-liners of the previous books which give a good picture with minimum effort. Gone are Marlowe's wisecracks. The plot of the previous 5 novels moved with a very fast rate where the whole story took place within a couple of days. This time we have sentences like, "Several weeks passed" on practically every page.
Continuing the theme of the guy impersonating Marlowe in the book, he really acts out of character here. Where is the guy who went head-to-head with an armed ruthless killer trying to protect a person who he never saw before (The Big Sleep)? This time he does not do anything even remotely exciting; the whole investigation took whopping 2 pages out of 350+. He spends his time doing boring routine and being bullied. He is bullied by everybody and their brother: corrupted copes, good cops, millionaires and their henchmen, mobsters, random thugs, gorgeous women, vegan activists, Buddhist monks, centenarian grandmothers, and tough kindergarten kids. Sorry, I got carried away in the last four cases, but it could happen with the rate things were going. The only reason for all the bulling? Marlowe got stubborn for no good cause whatsoever.
The rating of this book is 3 stars with one more half of a star added for its classic status. Raymond Chandler mentioned in his essay that during his writing if he felt the plot became slow he would make a man with a gun come through the door. I was waiting for the guy through the whole book; he never came.
This review is a copy/paste of my BookLikes one: http://gene.booklikes.com/post/930686/a-book-considered-to-be-a-literature-classic-by-many-as-a-mystery-it-is-boring